Day 22 – Ullapool to Durness

Today we are driving up to Durness, as far northwest as you can get by car on the British mainland, and we’re probably going to some of the most remote areas of our road trip so far.

 

Photo of the day

Coastal Road Trip, Locha Chairn Bhain, Eddrachillis Bay, Road
Heading past Locha Chairn Bhain on the scenic B869.

 

Knockan Crag

Coastal Road Trip, Knockan Crag, Globe, Joe Smith, Julian, Jarno
The intriguing Globe rock sculpture by Joe Smith at Knockan Crag.   Just down the path behind us there was also an excellent information hut explaining about the geology and history of the area.

 

Ardvreck Castle

Coastal Road Trip, Ardvrek Castle, Julian, Jarno
Jarno managing a straight selfie photo… finally ūüėČ ¬†Behind us the ruins Ardvrek Castle on Loch Assynt, originally the 15th century seat of the MacLeods of Assynt.

 

Lochinver

Coastal Road Trip, Lochinver, Truck, Painting, Dragon, Fishermen
How cool is this?! ¬† Can’t imagine there are many fish delivery trucks painted like this.

 

Rhicarn

Coastal Road Trip, Rhicarn, Red House
A cute little red house near Rhicarn.

 

Clachtoll

Coastal Road Trip, Clachtoll Beach
One big surprise as we drove north were the beautiful clean white beaches, with crystal clear waters.  Clachtoll Beach was typical of the many beautiful beaches we saw.
Coastal Road Trip, Clachtoll Beach, Fin Whale, Jaw, Skull, ,Car Park, Jarno
In the beach car park the jaw and skull of a Fin Whale that had got stranded on Raffin Beach in 2007.

 

Stoer

Coastal Road Trip, Stoer, Cows in road
There maybe trouble ahead.
Coastal Road Trip, Stoer, Cows in road
I’m not sure who was more concerned, us or the cows, anyway the road ended up being (just) wide enough for all of us.
Coastal Road Trip, Stoer Lighthouse
Stoer Lighthouse, and it was for sale! ¬†Interesting…
Coastal Road Trip, Stoer Lighthouse, Views
The steep cliffs below Stoer Lighthouse.

 

Locha Chairn Bhain

Coastal Road Trip, Locha Chairn Bhain, Eddrachillis Bay
The craggy coast around Locha Chairn Bhain and Eddrachillis Bay was stunning.
Coastal Road Trip, Locha Chairn Bhain, Eddrachillis Bay, Road
The snaking road continued alongside Locha Chairn Bhain then on to Unapool.

 

Unapool

Coastal Road Trip, Unapool, Bench
..and we did just that, on this bench by the road just above Unapool.

 

Kylesku

Coastal Road Trip, Kylesku, Loch Gleann Dubh
Bright green grass on these mini islands on Gleann Dubh near Kylesku.

 

Assynt

Coastal Road Trip, Assynt, Quinag, Sail Ghorm, Rocky Ridge
Magnificent views back over the Assynt region (Norse for rocky ridge) to Quinag and Sail Ghorm.

 

Cranstackie

Coastal Road Trip, Cranstackie, A838
The final stretch north to Durness as we passed Cranstackie. ¬† Despite the A838 being an ‘A’ road it was single track most of the way, reminding us that we really were in a remote location.

 

Kyle of Durness

Coastal Road Trip, Kyle of Durness, Keoldale
Looking back along the Kyle of Durness from Keoldale.
Coastal Road Trip, Kyle of Durness, Keoldale, Cape Wrath, Ferry Crossing
At Keoldale we decided to stop and check out the ferry times to cross to Cape Wrath the following morning. ¬†But the ferry didn’t run today due to the weather, so we’ll be back in the morning to check if it is crossing then…

 

Balnakeil Bay

Coastal Road Trip, Balnakeil Bay, Beach
We carried on to Balnakeil Bay, and wow what a beach. ¬†Again we hadn’t imagined that the beaches would be so perfect or the water so clear, but it kind of makes sense seeing there are so few people to pollute them.

 

Smoo Cave

Coastal Road Trip, Smoo Cave, Bay
Then before stopping in Durness for the night we continued a little further east to Smoo Cave.
Coastal Road Trip, Smoo Cave, Tours
Inside Smoo Cave there was this little stand where tours could be arranged, but not today, again due to the weather.
Coastal Road Trip, Smoo Cave, Entrance
However, despite no one being around, you could still enter the walkway into the first chamber…
Coastal Road Trip, Smoo Cave, Waterfall
… to view the Smoo Cave Waterfall. ¬†A nice little surprise to finish the day.

 

Daily video

Day 21 – Gairloch to Ullapool

Day twenty-one will be full of lochs as we meander around Loch Gairloch, Loch Ewe, Gruinard Bay (not technically a loch, but almost), Little Loch Broom and finally Loch Broom.

 

Photo of the day

Coastal Road Trip, Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature Reserve, National Trust for Scotland, Ullapool, Loch Broom, Blue sky, Reflection
Loch Broom.

 

Loch Gairloch

Coastal Road Trip, Gairloch, Loch Gairloch, Longa Island, Sunrise
We ended yesterday with a sunset view from our room.  Then this morning we woke to this beautiful view of Longa Island in Loch Gairloch.
Coastal Road Trip, Loch Gairloch, Eilean Horrisdale, Reflections
Kicking the day off with a few more reflections along the road to Redpoint, first near Eilean Horrisdale.
Coastal Road Trip, Loch Gairloch, Badachro, Boats, Reflections
Then these rather tired boats at Badachro, but still so picturesque.

 

Loch Tollaidh

Coastal Road Trip, Loch Tollaidh, Reflections
Heading over to Poolewe passing the small Loch Tollaidh.
Coastal Road Trip, Loch Tollaidh, Blue boat
And another sinking boat…

 

Inverewe Garden

Coastal Road Trip, Inverewe Gardens, House, National Trust for Scotland
Inverewe House in the Inverewe Garndens, now managed by the National Trust for Scotland (so we got our free entry).  Actually this was the second house built here, the original burnt down in a fire just over 100 years ago.
Coastal Road Trip, Inverewe Gardens, Path, National Trust for Scotland
We arrived just as it opened, nice and quiet, great, until a coach load of tourists arrived, fortunately there were plenty of garden paths for all to get lost in.
Coastal Road Trip, Inverewe Gardens, Purple flower, National Trust for Scotland
Flowers!  Time for some close-ups.

 

Loch Ewe

Coastal Road Trip, Loch Ewe, Isle of Ewe, Cove, Anti-Aircraft Battery
Cove, at the the north western tip of the entrance to Loch Ewe, was littered with World War II Anti-Aircraft Battery. ¬†Although unsafe to enter, it’s amazing that the concrete of these batteries has lasted so long. ¬†Such a sharp contrast to their surroundings.
Coastal Road Trip, Loch Ewe, Cove, Beach
A secluded beach on a small peninsula along the road between Cove and Inverasdale.
Coastal Road Trip, Loch Ewe, Cove, Inverasdale, Poolewe, B8057, Road, Passing Point
Although many of the coastal roads in Scotland are single track (like the road between Poolewe and Cove), most have plenty of passing points, so we never had any problems.

 

Gruinard Bay

Coastal Road Trip, Gruinard Bay, Gruinard Island, Stream
A stream bubbling down to Gruinard Bay, with Gruinard Island in the background.
Coastal Road Trip, Gruinard Bay, Jarno
Views over Gruinard Bay and Jarno.

 

Corrieshalloch Gorge

Coastal Road Trip, Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature Reserve, National Trust for Scotland, View to Loch Broom
Before heading down into Corrieshalloch Gorge, we stopped to take in the very green views down the valley to Loch Broom.
Coastal Road Trip, Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature Reserve, National Trust for Scotland, Bridge
Unfortunately the bridge over Corrieshalloch Gorge had been closed a few days earlier for safety reasons, so we couldn’t get to the main lookout point.
Coastal Road Trip, Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature Reserve, National Trust for Scotland, Julian, Jarno
Trying to look down into the gorge… but we couldn’t see much.
Coastal Road Trip, Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature Reserve, National Trust for Scotland, Mushrooms, Toadstools
Along the gorge path Mushrooms or maybe Toadstools?

 

Loch Broom

Coastal Road Trip, Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature Reserve, National Trust for Scotland, Ullapool, Loch Broom, Blue sky, Reflection
We started the day with a bright blue sky, and ended the day with a bright blue sky!  This was our view across Loch Broom as we sat on the pebble beach at Ullapool eating our fish and chip dinner.

 

Daily video